Saturday, July 26, 2008

Circuitry Man (1990)

"What the fuck is this, 20 questions?" That's exactly what I'm asking myself after sitting through this happenin' jewel. Ah the classic touch of crossing costume-eras. It 'worked' for Ice Pirates, so why wouldn't it 'work' here? Oh but it does, oh but it does. We've got some sex-droid who loves stallions, and looks like he just unmounted one, wearing tights and boots and a ruffly-collared white Renaissance shirt standing next to Plughead, whose head is, get this, covered in plugs. There's also a really ugly fat woman named Juice, a leech-eating freak named Leech (another clever pun), some cops seemingly into mixing pleasure with sewage ("God damn shit! God damn piss!), a no-good biker gang, and the ever-classy Mad-Max groupies. Throw in an oxygen bar, a few bad plug and airlock jokes ("Why jack off when you can jack in?"), a couple of drawn and quarter-ings, and a glimpse into the clay-mation hell known as Plughead's brain (the monster masks and stacks of corpses!) and you've got a truly troubling concoction. 'Circuitry Man' isn't even a single person! Every dude and his brother is circuitry man! And there's this whole subplot involving the destruction of the earth and loss of all oxygen in the atmosphere, but that's really what it is: a subplot. They go over it in the first 10 seconds of the credits by gifting us with a couple of paragraphs. That's it! I mean, for all it's sci-fi glory, it's basically just about some deal gone bad and some asshole who wants the merch back. Yes, there's a creepy old man half made of a car engine who gets his brain melted by Plughead after he hooks up to him and thinks real hard. Yes, there's a confusing conspiracy of characters. Yes, there's digital manipulation of memory and thought processes. Yes, there are toxic mutant leeches killing people left and right. There are even the briefest of titties. But what does that all really add up to? Oh wait....something awesome! I totally convinced myself! The weirdest part of all is that it seems like the sequel is more popular than the original. How is that possible? For more information, and to 'be safe,' check this site out.

Final Judgment: "You really can judge a movie by its cover!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Frighteners (1996)

Oh Michael J. Fox, how good you look in tight jeans. No, this isn't just another opportunity to show off the Foxy package (right?). It's actually a horror-comedy creation presented by Robert Zemeckis, directed by Peter Jackson and with a score by Danny Elfman. Damn, those are some high-profile names, so why no love from the audiences? For one, I have absolutely no idea which audience Jackson is actually trying to reach...Apparently the film was originally scripted to be a Tales of the Crypt episode (that shit is sick [and not in the good way]!), but Zemeckis just thought it was so high-larious, it had to hit the big screen. It certainly seems like a comedy (flying babies anyone?) and one the kids might enjoy (walking mummies?), but then it's rated R for terror/violence (I guess all that necrophilia, heads exploding, creepy psycho-killer stuff took its toll. Or are they just talking about the fact that Jake Busey's in it? Man, he's ugly!). I mean, the use of paranormal and ghastly themes (it took 35+ computers!) is always tricky, and if you start adding comedic, crude, belligerent, and often 'inside' jokes, 70's inspired ghosts, creepy cult-tainted Feds, and heaven and hell, it's probably pretty difficult to get "artistically-minded," "drama-oriented," "discerning movie critic" adults into the theater seats. Without the teenagers, what's left? I guess maybe we hadn't quite reached that "that's where the money's at," "I'll let you have as much cash as you want because I feel guilty that I can't spend more time with you," "tween saturation point" by 1996. Because now, if you're making an rated-R movie (have you seen how many are coming out?...practically none!), you better have a pretty good fucking reason for throwing up your middle finger at the million dollar generation. On the other hand, I thought it was pretty fracking brilliant. It's like Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice meets Grosse Pointe Blank (which actually came out a year later) Natural Born Killers and Casper (live-action of course), and that is definitely not a bad thing.

Final Verdict: "Classically Contagious!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Easy Rider (1969)

Well, this one's for all the people who got riled up at my last post when I posited that an Eddie Murphy movie could (possibly) reach (entertainment) film perfection. In fact, I didn't even realize that Easy Rider was going to be one of those actually (artistically) good movies until it had already started (I just watch anything with Dennis Hopper in [it's a blessing and a curse]). I also didn't realize that Dennis Hopper or Jack Nicholson could be so old (born in '36 and '37 respectively!), or that movies before the 70's could be awesome and in color (I know, I'm sheltered). Now, be forewarned: there's a reason I don't watch "good" movies and that's because they're usually depressing. There's generally enough depressing shit going on in the world already without rubbing it in your face by wallowing in it in your spare time. But, every once in a while (even if it is by accident), I can suck it up and watch something truly moving. Written by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, filmed by a bunch of randos, and costing less than $400,000, this piece represents a turning point in Hollywood History. First of all, it brought forth the idea that cheap (avante) films can make money (huhhhh?). Secondly, it revolutionized the soundtrack concept, bringing a variety of already popular (and awesome) songs together to create what some people refer to as an ambiance. It's basically just about Fonda and Hopper biking across the country on some sweet, custom-made hogs (several of which were stolen before filming was completed) in order to get to Mardi Gras (Nicholson gets picked up on the way) while smoking as much marijuana as possible (yes, it was real) and then doing some LSD (provided by Phil Spector). And I won't spoil the ending. I mean, it seems pretty obvious that the movie's not totally about the plot. It's about the beautiful footage (why oh why have we forsaken wide angle shots?), the crude editing, the field-esque (am I not supposed to use that phrase this often?) street shots and the people you meet all across the country (hardly any actors were used; using locals was just easier). It just feels real (and that's especially saying a lot in this day and age), which is pretty amusing since most of the critics think it's some sort of nostalgic period piece with hippies whining about how nobody likes them. It's also got to be one of the only druggie movies that was nominated for multiple Oscars. Oh the time of revolution. In summary, I highly recommend this film, but you better be prepared for some anger (or is that just me?).

I deem it: "A glorious middle finger to the big budget bastards/Who can say 'no' to Dennis Hopper?"

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Golden Child (1986)

Golden Schnauzer is more like it. I mean, damn, this film is good. What took me so long? Why didn't someone tell me about this glorious composition? This could quite possibly be what I classify as "the perfect movie." Now, calm down. Obviously we're not talking about change-your-perspective -on-the-world, beyond-all-words, the-greatest-love-of-all kind of art. No, no, this is something altogether different. This is a masterpiece of entertainment. How is this possible you ask? How could Eddie Murphy, now a box-office disaster, ever make something truly worthwhile? Well, I doubt he actually had much to do with it. Originally scripted as an action-adventure, it wasn't until Murphy got cast that the film was transformed into a comedy, an altogether epic decision. We've got comic relief (and thank the gods, Sr. Eddie hasn't gone quite over the edge yet, so most of it's still tasteful [think crazy facial expressions, disbelief {he's so deep in the supernatural shit before he realizes it, the movie is almost over}, some sort of awkward sex appeal, and a whole lot of wise-cracking]), the mystical forces of good and evil, an Asian kid who can raise the dead, a bizarre black leather hat, crazy props and sets, birds and butterflies, monks, trials and tribulations, an LSD-esque dream sequence, guns, action, smoking snake-lady titties (she was raped by a dragon of course), mutants (or really, really ugly people [where's Trejo when you need him?]), complete disrespect, blood and guts, a stop-motion/puppet demon-dragon-monster (so awesome!), hand-to-hand combat, a sweet 80's soundtrack (even though it's set in 'present day'), implied sexual activity, a stop-motion dancing Pepsi can [complete with cane]), Victor-Fucking-Wong (! [of Three Ninjas fame; actually, he and that other Asian dude were both in Big Trouble in Little China together, released the same year. Coincidence? Or lack of Asian dudes?]), and, the most crucial element, a happy ending! Best of all, the critics hated it (the sign of everything good in the movie industry [I don't agree with hardly anything anyone ever says about reality, so when the critics say no, it usually means yes!])! What more could you ask for? Why aren't people looking at these things as awesomeness in the movie world? Can anyone answer that? Alternatively, why do I think 80's special effects and supernatural crazies are so sweet? I'm so confused! Is it the desire to reach out beyond what is accepted? To work with new (or old) technologies? To give something secure with something so controversial? Is it a big fuck-you to Hollywood? Or a failure that I can rejoice in? Does anyone know the answer to these riddles (if you know the answer to the riddle of the Universe, I'll gladly take that one too)? One thing I do know:

I deem it: "Quite possibly the best, and most entertaining, movie I've seen in a long time."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

StarKnight (1985)

Hmmm. This looks like a sweet movie...It has Harvey Keitel and Klaus Kinski in it....It has an awesome picture of a dude in a spacesuit on the front cover...You see the potential for alchemy and spaceships...You read the catch phrase: "He came from the future to conquer the past," and all of these things make you think that you have found some sort of sci-fi jewel, hidden among the ruins of the 80's. But then (dun, dun, dun), you start noticing things....Like how every other actor has a Spanish name....And how it's put out by VidMark Entertainment (oh man, oh man, check out this super-sweet web page with tons of VidMark VHS covers! My new goal is to watch as many of these movies as possible [esp with ones with Angelina and our good friend Lou Diamond!]!)...And then, what puts you over the curious edge, is the fact that you can't find its English title listed on imdb. Hmmm. What could this mean? A terrible science fiction masterpiece? A lost treasure from the low-budget depths? I'll tell you what it means. It means one of the most obscure and underrated (?) films on this here blog. Good?, maybe not. Obscure?, definitely. Underrated?, probably. Released as El Caballero del Dragon, a much more apt title, this film can really only amaze; there's actually little to no space (you know..., the great beyond) in this movie, despite the highly misleading cover. What there is is a Monty Python-esque Medieval Village (I'm the Green Knight, and you can't cross this bridge, blah blah blah) with a bunch of grumbling peasants, a superstitious conniving priest, a bizarro alchemist (Kinski) looking for liquid gold (the secret to immortal life!), Keitel as a stupid knight named Klever (I'm gonna break that Dragon's kneecaps! [how many times can he really fall over?]), a daring and slutty princess (yay for Europeans and full frontal nudity!), and, oh yes, the Star Knight (played by the Bowie wannabe [you know: pale, undernourished and hairless] Miguel Bosé) who has been living on Earth for sometime studying its habitants in his giant spaceship which is (rightfully) mistaken for a human-eating, fire-breathing, beast of a dragon. There are a few redeeming sci-fi moments with laser holograms, angelic glowing heads (and cats!) and crystalline spaceship innards, and Kinski has a really sweet outfit, but mostly this movie is just strange and confusing. Are we laughing at the jokes, the quality of film or the irony of the situation? Is there a reason why Keitel's Brooklyn-savaged voice is dubbed over his own image? In fact, what language was anybody ever speaking in originally? Was the director on drugs? Should he be? Did the person who wrote the back cover summary ever actually see the film? Oh the questions that come to mind. I understand what happens, but have no idea why. Therefore, if you are a brave and stalwart person who likes to be truly challenged, mentally and physically, I present you with your next conquest: Watch Star Knight; Understand Star Knight; Take away insights about life from Star Knight. Who knows, maybe the secret of the Universe really does reside within this 7 ⅜" wide, 4" deep, 1" thick plastic clamshell held together with 5 Philips head screws.

I deem it: "A mystery beyond all mysteries."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Turner and Hooch (1989)

Who let the dogs out? Obviously some middle-aged woman, because there is more of Tom Hanks in bikini underwear in this movie then I hoped to see in my entire life-time (why don't Disney movies still supply such [un]happy nudity?). Damn, that's awkward! He does it with a chick, and yet still, all I get to see is Hanks' thighs (as white as chicken and about as juicy as your Aunt's meatloaf)! Don't worry there are definitely some redeeming qualities about this movie....right? For one, it's set in Pacific Grove, CA (which Spencer so eloquently refers to as "The Peej" [the premise is true: they don't have much crime there other than vandalisms and geriatric displays of indecent exposure {Toommmm!}]) which is interesting at best (I've seen those buildings before...). Another big point goes to Reginald VelJohnson (that fat black dude who always shows up in the best movies [eg. The Die Hard's, Crocodile Dundee and Ghostbusters! Too good!]) and Elden Hensen (He's that big fucker in The Mighty Ducks). No, they don't get one point each; their combined existence is good for just one solid ladder step on the Tesla scale of awesomeness (is that harsh?) even though VelJohnson is pretty fucking sweet (does that make Hensen less so?: conservation of awesomeness, dude!). But let's face it, the real star of the show is Beasley the Dog, otherwise so fatefully known as Hooch (what's with the name though? Is he walking the back alleys on his own time?) Although T&H was his only movie, Beasley (an ancient French breed of Dogue de Bordeaux [and who says they've always been classy?]) shows true craftsmanship in this masterpiece, which the director promptly holds on, and then tells the editor to make slow motion, and then repeats in dream sequences and credits, making this 97 minute jewel a veritable shrine to floppy dog parts and drool. Whoa nelly! In fact, about the only time Tom Hanks is even funny is when he's fighting with the dog, sleeping with the dog (I didn't know, honest!), imitating the dog (Hanks' slobber anyone?), eating dog food, or having the dog save his life. And that about sums it up. Dog da-dog dog dog (Thank you Cisco for that inescapable riff). Ah the 80's. I guess it was only inevitable that the transition into the nineties would move Hanks away from classics like Big, Turner and Hooch, and Mazes and Monsters (tv) to more despicable classics like Sleepless in Seattle and Forrest Gump and, dun dun dun, Disney movies without nudity. Oh Hanks, how far from the respectable fantasy world you've fallen.

Final Judgment: "Dare I say it.....: This movie is fit for the dogs!"

Dick Anthony Family

Well, this has to be the creepiest album I've ever been in the presence of. From the vacant stares to the bizarre outfit choices, the variety of ages, the terrible haircuts.... And, yes, let me say it again, that whole lack-of-soul thing is really freaking me out. Mixed at Rainbow Sound in Dallas, this LP features such winners as "The Body of Christ" (I'm the arm, you're the hand....), "Gossip, Gossip," and the narrative masterpiece, "Moses." Wow, what a doozy. The poofy-haired collective is described as "A Christian family, caring and sharing, discovering, developing, using their gifts, returning their talents with increase to God and now extending their ministry into your home." Is it just me, or does this sound like some sort of incestuous, sex cult? I mean, doesn't everything about that just sound gross? Yikes. Maybe if I hadn't seen the cover..... Double yikes! The tracks are actually laughable. Once again, the creep factor is largely to blame, but the lyrics and tones don't make it any easier. Luckily (right?), we get to hear everybody sing, we get some harp and some organ, and there are even a few songs with a full orchestra. There are actually a few copies of this online, mostly at Christian music sites, so please, help yourself. I even found a partial article on the group in a 1974 copy of the Fresno Bee Republican : "Page A4 Nov. THE FRESNO BEE Family Singers The Dick Anthony Family will present a concert of religious music Wednesday at p.m. in the Full Gospel Tabernacle." So they did actually exist, and they did actually make music, and this is not just some sort of nightmare hallucination struck down on me as retribution from a higher being... Or is it?

Final Judgement: "Whatever you do, stay away from the kool-aid (and the leather!)!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fanfare du 13eme Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins

I can't deny that I've been on a recent jones-kick for military music. There's just something about all that brass. Mmm. Well, this certainly meets the bar. The Chasseurs Alpins, translated as the Alpine Hunters, are actually the elite mountain infantry of the French Army. Man, that just sounds awesome (in that action, super-spy, army-hero kind of a way). While Wiki claims that they were formed in 1888 to keep those scoundrel Italians on their side of the line, the back of the LP states that the 13th battalion was "born" on the 23rd of January, 1854, in Besançon. They do mention a larger group forming in 1888 and still have space to brag that they've won 8 medals between the Great War and the 1939-45 conflict. One thing we can be certain of: the Chasseurs Alpins are widely recognized by their cute little berets. Ahhhh. I also found this sweet blurb about their training on wikipedia:

Training includes climbing, cross-country skiing, plus winter and summer mountain leadership and mountain guiding skills. Traditional training included mountain survival skills such as to build an igloo shelter and to sleep in temperatures around 0°C. Modern troops may be transported in all-terrain VMBs VACs(Bandvagn 206) or untracked VAB personnel carriers. Personal weaponry includes the FAMAS assault rifle, Minimi machine gun, FRF-2 sniper rifle, PGM Hecate II heavy sniper rifle, and LGI light mortar, while group weapons included the M2 machine gun, LLR 81 mm mortar, and vehicle-mounted 20 mm autocannon, plus AT4, ERYX and MILAN anti-tank missiles.

Talk about totally tubular in that death and destruction kind of way!
The LP looks like it's selling for around $30 on the internet; I actually picked mine up in an independent record store in Amsterdam. Sweet deal, huh? There's also this sweet site, which has tons of French Military Music.

Final Judgment: "You can't go wrong with big weapons, big brass and skis!"

Elektra (2005)

Hot, hot, hot. And spicy. Definitely saucy. Ok, and sometimes like a mouse (it happens!). No I'm not talking about sex with some Latin pool boy, but rather, Jennifer Garner, especially in this marvelous movie (ha ha, get it?). After watching hours upon hours of Alias, it's no surprise that this down-home, ass-kicking fiend grew on me. And I really like this movie. Not just for the cleavage and the hot red leather outfits, but because of....oh wait, is that the reason? I guess mostly. Nah, I'm joshing! Definitely one of the more under-appreciated Marvel releases of the last decade (and there were a lot of releases), Elektra, a Frank Miller comic creation, does more than just show a bad-ass power chick killing people. She also makes out with another chick under duress! Hawt. There's even a sensei! Crucial! Oh, and lest I forget, there's the surprisingly adept cinematography, with some truly beautiful shots up in the BC, a solid use of colors and effects (the sheet fight!), a labyrinth, several animals (both real and computer animated) and so on. It's like they actually tried! Even the CGI is toned down in an effort to make a truly classy 21st century action/fantasy/superhero flick. I like it. I like the simple, but riding-under-the-surface plot (has this all been a test?). I like the interesting and diverse, yet mythical, villians. I like the scenery and the shots. And yes, I like Jennifer Garner in skin-tight outfits (can you blame me?; that girl is toned!)
All in all,

I deem it: "Exactly what I've always wanted."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mystery Challenge #1 - SOLVED!!

The everly-loverly Kate has given us the much sought after answer!

"the album is from chinese vinyl famous classical selections, titled "moonlight reflected on the er-quan spring," performed by the chinese national broadcast orchestra. they're all pretty standard chinese folk songs. they're not prisoners, they're just wearing mao suits."

The mystery has been solved!
All is right in the Universe once again (or is it?)!
Long life to Kate (you deserve at least 1 million life points for this!)!
Long life to the Chinese National Broadcast Orchestra (and welcome to the world of english internet!)!

I deem it: "Katetastically delish!"

Tom Mauchahty-Ware:
Flute Songs of the Kiowa and Comanche

Well, another highly successful LP purchase on my part. Recorded at Hog Creek, Oklahoma, in 1978, this record is not only awesome but also highly elusive. While the 'Indian House' record label is still around, still selling (Cassettes, LPs and CDs) and even still releasing, this is one of the few 12" originals that is not currently for sale on their site in such a format. Nope, CD or cassette only for this puppy. How did I happen across this beautiful piece of art you ask? Why, an independent record store of course! Ah the P-Rex (no, not a dinosaur: the Princeton Record Exchange you ninny!), I miss you so. Our friend Tom is actually a direct descendant of Belo Cozad, the famous Kiowa flute player. And since Tom's father (Wilson Ware), a prominent Kiowa war dance and singer, proceeded to procreate with his mother (Pearl Pewo Ware), of the Comanche tribe, we end up with this glorious album which is, in essence, a celebration of both cultures. I know you're not supposed to get all idealistic and mystical and teary-eyed and shit when you think about Native Americans (they're just people too, with problems like any others), but they certainly promote that image with statements like "The natural scents such as cedar, sage, oak, Indian perfume, Indian tobacco, and others are the most beautiful in the world, for they are not bought or sold" and "In order to present the natural setting and feeling of Indian flute playing, this recording was made outdoors, in a beautiful wooded area with a stream nearby." In fact, the word 'beautiful' is used pretty much to the maximum. There's also a beautiful Kiowa Flute story, a beautiful biography on Tom, and a beautiful lyrical or phrasical description of each song. Let's see, we've got "Love Song of Birds," inspired by, you guessed it, beautiful birds in a tree, there are a couple of prayer songs, several love songs, and the omnipresent "War Dance Song." The lyrics to said War Dance don't seem particularly menacing, translating as "I like this song. This is the One. I'm glad to hear this song. It's good that I still hear this song," but maybe that's just my interpretation. Although, methinks that if that's what our poor down-trodden troops in Iraq were singing (along with the other side), maybe we could all just sit back, smoke a blunt, and appreciate the music. All in all, I highly recommend that you check out Indian House (simultaneously supporting the best dressed fellows and fellas to walk this here land), get yourself a couple of Native tracks (peyote songs anyone?), listen to the birds, smoke the peace pipe, wonder at the duration and odds of the human journey and try to imagine where we'll end up next.

I deem it: "Larger than Life and Prettier than Puritans"

"I, along with the birds and the animals of nature are going to give you a gift. It is called a Tone-bawt (Flute). We take from the greatest of all trees an instrument of beauty which will be yours, and yours only, until you someday pass it down, for there is only one in a tribe that receives it. The bird on top represents all these beautiful birds and animals that helped me prepare this for you. The four holes in the end of the flute represent the four directions of wind. You must always caress this to keep it oiled. The breath of life from your body will keep it moist. You must keep it in a buckskin bag with your medicine. Your rouge which you use on your face will be put in the end of the flute to personalize it. It is yours and yours only. Along with this instrument you will also have your own courting song.

You must dress in your best Kiowa clothes, wear your best feathers, put on your best hair wraps and also your rouge. Wear all the beautiful things of nature for you will represent beauty and love. Your music will always pertain to love. Whether it's courtship, prayer, or brotherly love, you will always represent it."

WarGames (1983)

What an awesome movie! I know, not really obscure or underrated (Or is it? To be honest, I have no idea what anyone else is thinking at any given time. It did get nominated for several Oscars, but maybe people were just more chill in general back then. Or maybe this didn't yet fall into the 'sci-fi' genre. I've heard of it. I've seen it several times. I've definitely talked about it with people. You've probably seen it [it's fucking classic!]. So....obscure? underrated? or just under-appreciated?) I mean, come on, it's awesome, right? Let's think of all the great things about it: a) 80's computers! b) 1983! c) shirtless (and hairless) boy-man Matthew Broderick! d) a computer that can learn! e) hacking! f) computers taking control of military systems! g) Ally Sheedy (That chick from Short Circuit I & II and The Breakfast Club [yes, she's the dandruff-appreciating freak])! h) LED's flashing in bold patterns for no apparent reason! i) Seattle skyline! j) Colorado skyline! k) Washington scenery in general! l) the potential for WWIII (is that a good thing?)! m) 80's graphics of tiny missiles, warheads and submarines! n) Pterodactyl airplanes! o) the classic theme of the next great extinction (Humans have outworn their welcome and their planet! The bees will soon take control!) And the list continues! Widely touted as one of the first and most prominent cyberthriller/hacker films, WarGames lives on in the nerd world. If you appreciate this movie (as you rightfully should) and would like to explore the timeless (at least in the last centuries) concept of human and machine conflict, including, but not limited to, the evolution of the artificial thinking machine, hacking, and the psychological and physical merge between man and machine to form the next great species, and you're sick of watching the Terminator movies (not that they're not awesome and everything) then I invited you to engage in these other fantastic films: Virtuosity (Denzel and Russell Crowe; the story of evolving artificial intelligence; the best scene is when Crowe terrorizes rando 80s/90s club-goers with guns and then records their screams to create an inspiring musical piece: terror-opera!), Hackers (is an explanation even necessary?: it's brilliant! And Matthew Lilliard is in it!), 2001: A Space Odyssey (duh!), Macross Plus (a Japanese anime with a demented A.I. pop-star [and you thought they couldn't get any more finnicky...]), The Lawnmower Man (man uses machine to increase human intelligence and then attempts to enter and dominate the system and everything it controls) and, of course, Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence (fantastic anime with a blend of CGI and hand-drawn frames; a Kurzweil-esque version of the merge). Wowzah. That should keep you busy for sure. And that's just a few. Don't even get me started on the clone/robot/science in-the-wrong list. But don't worry, there are probably a few more years to prepare before computers start evolving, thinking freely and deciding to eliminate the human race ('it's for your own good!' they'll say).....................

Final Judgment, "God gave us computers for a reason!/Long live WarGames!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lani McIntire and His Hawaiians:
The Heart of the Islands in Song

Sweet lords above, this album is smooth. I'm talking, get out of a ticket, turn in the paper a week late, get your honey to sleep with you even though she's mad kind of smooth. Damn, that's smooth. Lani McIntire (1904-1951) is a Hawaiian guitar and steel guitar player. There's not a whole lot about him online, but he did appear to have a prolific career. I couldn't find out anything about this particular album, but that just makes it sweeter, right? Granted, I don't think it could get any sweeter if it tried, and this time I'm not talking about the fucking awesome kind of sweet. No, no, this is the smell of grandma's perfume, overripe apricot kind of sweet. Like a nectar that overwhelms and simultaneously induces a strange desire to vomit. The LP, printed in NJ in 1956 by the "Record Corp. of America" (are we sure that's not just a some sort of big business, vampire coven front?), is good for dancing, definitely perfect for romancing, but there's one thing it's not: world music! This is super-standard, pianos, slide guitars and male choral vocals, looney tunes endings (like striking a chord and running your fingers down the frets of a guitar), somewhere-over-the-rainbow music. It has it's place, no doubt, but hopefully only when you want to do the nasty.

Final Judgment, "WARNING!!: This album may leave you with a desire to wear polyester, an unnatural obsession with Judy Garland, and an eventual recession back to mono-color."

Mystery Challenge #1

I'm officially adding the category of the 'Mystery Challenge,' to my blog. "Why?" you ask: because I can't read Chinese! A poor reason on my part, it's true, but a sad fact none the less. This LP, released on China Record Co. and Toshiba in 1980, and EMI (Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong) in '81, is freaking awesome. The orchestral tracks are poignant and moving and also from another country (this gives them duplicate, delightful dimensions)! The orchestra itself is talented and well-organized (just look at how proper everyone looks in their band/prison uniform [it serves double duty]!). I love world music! Unfortunately, the LP has not gifted us more information than a few tantalizing photos of an 80's Chinese orchestra with ridiculously sweet instruments (I especially love that there's a picture from the front of the orchestra on the front and a picture of the back on the back of the LP; did that just blow your mind?) and, the all-seeing, ever-present, Chinese language description. While I believe that one should attempt to learn everything in the Universe, taking up Chinese has not surfaced high enough on my life-list as of yet, and I remain incredulously ignorant. Alas, I can only hope that, somewhere out there, there is someone reading this blog who can provide me with a much needed translation. And so I ask: "WHAT IS THIS ALBUM (other than awesome of course)?" Solve the Mystery Challenge!

I deem it, "A veritable tease!"